Lavie Tidhar‘s excellent new novel NEOM has received a number of great reviews since its publication. The second novel in the CENTRAL STATION setting, it is published by Tachyon Publications. Here’s the synopsis…
The city known as Neom is many things to many beings, human or otherwise. It is a tech wonderland for the rich and beautiful, an urban sprawl along the Red Sea, and a port of call between Earth and the stars.
In the desert, young orphan Elias has joined a caravan, hoping to earn his passage off-world. But the desert is full of mechanical artefacts, some unexplained and some unexploded. Recently, a wry, unnamed robot has unearthed one of the region’s biggest mysteries: the vestiges of a golden man.
In Neom, childhood affection is rekindling between loyal shurta-officer Nasir and hardworking flower-seller Mariam. But Nasu, a deadly terrorartist, has come to the city with missing memories and unfinished business. Just one robot can change a city’s destiny with a single rose—especially when that robot is in search of lost love.
Lavie Tidhar’s (Unholy Land, The Escapement) newest lushly immersive novel, Neom, which includes a guide to the Central Station universe, is at turns gritty, comedic, transportive, and fascinatingly plausible.
If you haven’t yet read either CENTRAL STATION or NEOM, and are interested in giving the setting a try, the new short story THE SMELL OF ORANGE GROVES was published by Clarkesworld (way back in issue #62), and is available in text and audio.
For podcast enthusiasts, Lavie recently appeared as a guest on the Coode Street Podcast.
NEOM has also received another glowing review, this time from the Los Angeles Public Library:
‘NEOM is a thoughtful, beautifully written story about what we have, what we want, how we achieve our desires, and what, and whom, we are willing to risk for our own benefit.’
Here are just a few of the other reviews the novel has received so far…
‘World Fantasy Award winner Tidhar takes readers back to the fascinating far-future world of 2016’s CENTRAL STATION in this gentle narrative about self-fulfillment and one robot’s quest to reunite with a lost love… Tidhar offers a heartfelt exploration of artificially intelligent beings’ struggles to find existential meaning while being restrained by both coding and form. Fans of literary sci-fi are sure to be enchanted by the imaginative worldbuilding and tenderly wrought characters.’ — Publishers Weekly
‘Tidhar’s narrative takes on a gentle, ruminative air, and while that helps establish the atmosphere of a convincing, lived-in city, veteran SF readers will also find plenty of playful and affectionate Easter eggs… Neom easily joins the list of SF cities we’d like to visit.’ — Locus
‘[A] delightful journey through a fantasy of outer space and a future Middle East. Tidhar’s world contains likable characters who work together (sometimes accidentally, sometimes begrudgingly) to tell a story full of adventure, mystery, hope, and love… Tidhar writes science fiction with real-world parallels and comedic timing, if also a bit of a tendency toward hopeful romanticism… NEOM is a wonderful read for any lover of science fiction. For someone who has not yet visited the world of CENTRAL STATION — Tidhar’s novel from 2016 — it is easy to catch on to the colloquialisms and customs of the story universe. But after reading NEOM, new Tidhar fans will surely want to go back for more.’ — Jewish Book Council
‘… hauntingly beautiful… Written in a straightforward but luminous style… NEOM is a treasure… a compelling chapter in this future history that reflects so much about who we are and the basic things we yearn for.’ — SciFi Mind
‘Lavie Tidhar’s NEOM is a stunning return to his world of CENTRAL STATION, twinning the fates of humans and robots alike at a futuristic city on the edge of the Red Sea.’ — Green Man Review
‘This was superb and I’m in awe of Tidhar’s vision. He’s conjured up a futuristic city that feels simultaneously ultramodern and also run down. The rich histories of the region and its cultures are seamlessly interwoven into the fabric of this fully-realized world.’ — Speculative Shelf
‘This is a book of hearts and of the heart, be it human or robot, and that is something that is universal, be it ourselves or in “the other”. The “other”, in Tidhar’s work, is us, and we are the other. We are all us, and in NEOM, we feel for that other, in the personage of the robots, in the human characters, and we take them, and their stories, into us.’ — File 770
Lavie’s other 2022 novel, in case you missed it, is MAROR, which has been selected as a best book of the year by The Guardian and The Economist. It is out now, published by Head of Zeus.